Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Should You Get Credit for Pregnancy Leave?

Does the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) require employers to credit pregnancy-related time off in calculating pension benefits if the time off occurred before the law was enacted?

The Supreme Court will take up this issue in AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen. The plaintiffs were granted time off from pregnancy prior to the enactment of the PDA. Years later, the plaintiffs are now seeking to get the time off taken for pregnancy credited as service time for purposes of calculating their pensions. Essentially, the plaintiffs are asking for the law to retroactively apply because if it does not, they are being discriminated against because of pregnancy.

The plaintiffs may benefit from the 1986 decision in Bazemore v. Friday, which allowed black workers to challenge a pay scale that went into effect before Title VII was enacted.

On the other hand, the Court's 2007 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber holds that "The fact that pre-charging period discrimination adversely affects the calculation of a neutral factor like seniority … that is used in determining future pay does not mean that each new paycheck constitutes a new violation and restarts the EEOC charging period", which would mean that the claims may fail.

Either way, it is an interesting case.

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